Since the store launched, I’ve gotten a few e-mails about how I normally go about baking and decorating cookies. Here’s my attempt to break it down — I live a rather haphazard life, but once in a while I find myself buckling the fuck down and getting shit in order.
Cookie baking is one of those times.
So here are the basics, and some tips I try to pay attention to when I’m baking.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter — softened, @ room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. With an electric mixer (hand-held or standing), mix butter and sugar. Make sure the butter is room temperature! If it’s straight out of the fridge, I microwave it for 10-15 seconds.
I mix it until it reaches a fluffy buttercream icing consistency
2. Next, add the egg & vanilla extract. Mix. There is no picture because things generally look the same.
3. Then add half of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt). Mix until all is incorporated.
Here it is, after step 3, starting to look clumpy.
4. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.
See how there’s no dough stuck to the inside of the bowl? Mix until this happens. If it doesn’t happen, your dough might be too wet — add a little bit of flour. If you’re using a hand-held, you may need to start using your hands at some point during this step. Either way, in the end you should be able to take a wad of dough & roll it in to a ball without any pieces of it sticking to your hands.
5. Prepare work surface:
A sheet of wax paper and some flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the paper. I do this because I’m lazy and I don’t want to wipe the counter down later. Also, the wax paper is essential for when you need to move the dough later (see step 8).
6. Roll out the dough. I don’t like super thick cookies so I generally stay around 1/8″
It looks SUPER thin but that’s because I did a supremely poor job of rolling out the dough on this particular night. The edges are much thinner than the middle. If this happens to you, just avoid the edges when you’re punching out the shapes, otherwise the thin parts of your cookie will burn quickly.
7. Punch away. But do not remove the letters yet!!
I always have fun trying to figure out how best to fit as many as possible into one sheet.
8. Place the ENTIRE sheet of dough, including the wax paper, on a baking pan and put it in the freezer for 10 mins. This process will make moving the cookies infinitely easier:
Above is dough hardened in the freezer. It’s easy to disfigure the cookies when the dough is soft and you’re trying to peel it off the workspace onto a baking sheet. It’s the difference between trying to move a thin sheet of glass and a thin sheet of jello.
Sometimes this (the little ridges around the dough) will happen if you don’t punch your letters all the way through. I drag a toothpick along the side while the cookie is still frozen to “shave” it off.
9. Place each letter about 3″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Insert in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 7-10 mins. I usually set the timer for 7 minutes, then check on it every minute thereafter until the edges are golden brown.
10. Let it cool on a baking rack.
Apparently it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, but I try not to keep them for more than 1 week because…well, you sort of have to assume not everyone will eat it right away. After all, you can’t just be like, “Here, this is for you; you have 30 seconds to eat it since it’s already 14 days old.” Bad etiquette.
Hopefully any of the above helps. I’m not a professional baker or anything, so if there are any other helpful tips I would love to hear them!
Over & out!